Enforcement and Inspection

As today’s workplace becomes more complex, regulation of that workplace increases. In this section, you’ll find the practical advice you need to understand exactly what OSHA, other federal agencies, and their state counterparts, require of you, and to comply in the ways that best satisfy both your and their needs. Look also for important court decisions, advice on how to handle enforcement actions, and news of upcoming changes in workplace health and safety law.

Free Special Report: What to Expect from an OSHA Inspection


OSHA Calls on Philadelphia Construction Companies to Prevent Falls

A spate of fall incidents in the greater Philadelphia area prompted OSHA to call on the region’s construction companies to ensure that their employees have and use proper equipment when required to protect them from work-related falls.

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California Appeals Board: Was Workers’ Exposure Willful?

What’s your procedure for handling workers’ complaints about health symptoms?

Some health symptoms are “nonspecific,” meaning they can have more than one possible cause. A headache, for example, can result from exposure to hazardous airborne chemicals—or the worker could be coming down with a cold or might have skipped lunch. It’s important to carefully investigate any symptoms your workers report, especially if you get multiple reports from multiple employees.

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Reminder: OSHA Penalties Are Headed Up—Way Up—Started Next Month

For the first time since 1990, OSHA is adjusting civil penalty amounts. Keep reading to find out how high the penalties will go, and how soon you need to be ready.

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Initial Penalty Settlement for VW

Volkswagen AG (VW) has agreed with the EPA, the state of California, and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to an initial penalty settlement for alleged violations of federal and state laws following disclosures that the company installed emissions defeat devices in nearly 500,000 2.0-liter diesel vehicles sold in the United States between 2009 and 2015. In monetary terms, the company must pay up to $14.7 billion, with about $10 billion of that total directed toward compensating the purchasers of vehicles that did not meet on-road nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions standards. The remainder is to be used to mitigate the pollution from these cars and advance California’s green vehicle technology.

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Court Decisions Lower Bar for OSHA to Prove Willful Violations

By Micheal D. Hahn

Recent decisions from the 7th Circuit—which covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin—have drastically lowered the burden required for OSHA to prove willful violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).

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Minnesota CO2 Law Found in Violation of Commerce Clause

A Minnesota law that prohibits utilities from meeting state electricity demand with power from new plants that contribute to statewide carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions was found in violation of the Constitution’s dormant Commerce Clause because the law places an undue burden on interstate commerce.

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Zero Pretreatment Effluent Limits for O&G Fracking

A U.S. district judge in Wyoming has “set aside” the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule imposing environmentally protective requirements on hydraulically fractured oil and gas (O&G) wells on federal and Indian lands.

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OSHA Cites 5 Contractors for Fall Hazards

At an apartment complex construction site in Nebraska, OSHA found construction contractors jeopardizing the safety and health of workers. The agency’s inspection resulted in citations for five companies working at the three-building complex.

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OSHA Launches Pilot Program for Severe Violators of Whistleblower Protection Laws

On May 31, OSHA announced a pilot program aimed at protecting workers who report violations of law, safety and health—a severe violator enforcement program for employers that “continually and willfully” disregard the rights of whistleblowers.

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OSHA Launches Pilot Program for Whistleblower Severe Violators

Recently, OSHA announced that it is launching a pilot program aimed at employers who “continually and willfully” disregard the right of whistleblowers. Called the Whistleblower Severe Violator Enforcement Program or W-SVEP, the program will be similar to the existing Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which includes employers that routinely ignore safety and health regulations. The pilot program took effect on May 27, 2016, in OSHA’s Kansas City Region.

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